1st Edition

Houses, Families, and Cohabitation Swedish Towns in the Eighteenth Century

By Dag Lindström, Göran Tagesson Copyright 2025
    354 Pages 116 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book is an interdisciplinary study that draws on a combination of archaeological evidence, building archaeological analysis, archival sources to explore the dynamic relations between dwelling houses, social organization of households, and patterns of cohabitation during the eighteenth century.


    The empirical focus of this book is on Swedish towns, but it also addresses more general issues about urbanity and urban life, space and social organization, and materiality and individual agency. Aggregated questions about urban life and urban space are combined with a micro historical method revealing aspects of daily life and urban change. This study unveils a previously neglected history. Swedish eighteenth century towns have commonly been identified as a territory characterized by its sleepy absence of change. This study proves the opposite. Houses were built larger, with more diverse and complex inner structures. Family structures changed; households generally became smaller, the share of households headed by a married couple declined, and the number of single households increased. Population density increased, the number of families residing in the same house increased, and rental accommodation became more prevalent.


    This volume is essential reading for anyone interested in early modern housing, urban change, and interdisciplinary methods.

    1.      Introduction

    2.      Early Modern towns in the south-east of Sweden

    3.      Houses, constructing and rebuilding: the life-cycle of houses

    4.      Living together: The dynamics of ownership, households and cohabitation

    5.      Life biographies and the transformations of urban space and urban life

    6.      In the quest for houses, families and cohabitation


    Dag Lindström is Professor of History at Uppsala University. His research covers various dimensions of urban social and cultural history. In 2021 he edited Micro Geographies of the Western City, c. 1750–1900 together with Alida Clemente and Jon Stobart.


    Göran Tagesson is Associate Professor in Historical Archaeology, and researcher at the Department of History, Uppsala University. His main research interest is urban and buildings archaeology. His latest book: ’For my Descendants and Myself, a Nice and Pleasant Abode’: Agency, Micro-History and Built Environment (2020).